The Brooklyn Rail

APR 2016

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Holland Tunnel

Jane Freilicher, Yellow, 2009. Oil on linen. 32 × 40 inches. Courtesy the artist.


so thinking/ about that organism, I disappeared/ into it   –Alice Notley

Somewhere there is a hole
waiting for you

to put yourself into it—
hand over the fat of you

(gently, slowly)
into its dark center

until you are a single raw
rod, an inner finger

pointing at a tree you spotted
on the road and think you like.

On the screen that still
somehow holds to magic

an elegant starlet approaches
along a terrifying curve.

Microbes return minerals
to the soil

as you walk to the mall
to abandon your edges.

Sometimes and all the time
you are shut out of days.

You pull the single hair
out of your mouth to achieve sound.

You lose the language necessary
to corrupt a field. And beyond

the factory, what little you have left
spirals into a self-lubricating dawn.

The nearly-spoken root
sucks up some more water.

The men are vicious pupils
who open and close your springtime.

Little buds everywhere. I don’t get
it you say, I don’t get it at all.

You ask a sudden recognition
on the fox-colored sofa

as signals come out
from their dens to arouse you.

You emerge clean, a convinced ball
no claims / no devices.

The room maneuvers and becomes
large. You lean towards the mirror

for hours, manipulating
tiny gardens in your face.



Emily Skillings

Emily Skillings is the author of Fort Not (The Song Cave, 2017), as well as two chapbooks, Backchannel (Poor Claudia) and Linnaeus: The 26 Sexual Practices of Plants (No, Dear/ Small Anchor Press). She is a member of the Belladonna* Collaborative, a feminist poetry collective, small press, and event series, and splits her time between Brooklyn and Hudson, New York.


The Brooklyn Rail

APR 2016

All Issues